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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Cheryl Strayed

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5354118,829 (4.3)55
Member:co_coyote
Title:Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
Authors:Cheryl Strayed
Info:Vintage (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Essay

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Despite all the good reviews, I was skeptical about this collection of advice columns. I had a hard time imagining the columns could have universal appeal. I quickly found that I was wrong. I would read a letter written to Sugar and think there was no possible way I would be able to relate to the advice that Sugar was going to give. Then all the sudden there were tears streaming down my face as Sugar gave such honest advice. She is so good at acknowledging that pain is real and life can be hard, while never allowing people to wallow in their suffering. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Not long after I began hearing constant talk about Cheryl Strayed's Wild, which I still need to read, I heard about Tiny Beautiful Things; a sampling from her time as an advice columnist known as Dear Sugar. While hiking isn't really my thing, the epic journey of Wild and endless stream of recommendations was enough to make me curious. But why would I want to read a hodge podge of advice columns that I could skim through, or more likely skip over, online? Over the past year, several friends and trusted reviewers have given Tiny Beautiful Things tons of praise that I couldn't ignore. I'll admit that I can fold to a decent amount of peer pressure - in this case, I'm so happy I did.

Tiny Beautiful Things does it all. Strayed covers every topic imaginable, from frivolous high school love triangles to dealing with miscarriages and boyfriends wearing panties. But the magic of the book isn't just in the varied topics, it's in the way Sugar infuses her answers with a perfect blend of sense, understanding, vulgarity (those curse words are important), and bits of herself. While she is willing to call people out on the exact things they need to hear, she does it to be helpful instead of turning on the know-it-all tone that can make many advice columns unbearable.

[in response to a struggling young writer] "The most fascinating thing to me about your letter is that buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing, there's arrogance at its core. It presumes you should be successful at twenty-six, when really it takes most writers so much longer to get there. . . . You're up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done. We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor."

I found myself struggling to hold back tears during most of Sugar's responses. Sometimes she shared heartbreaking stories from her own past that were difficult to read, but more often I found myself choked up over the beauty in her words. There is so much more to Tiny Beautiful Things than just advice, there is conversation - this book feels like a good friend. ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
Readers who have not already read the columns will like the book much more. They were great to read again, and Strayed is a tremendous writer. ( )
  aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Strayed does very well when it comes to problems that touch on her own experience (mainly grief and loss). However, she's very weak when it comes to pretty much every other issue. She also has this repugnant viewpoint about how the loss of her mother made her a better person, which is, of course, fine for her, but brought up in response to other people's raw loss, is insensitive to the point of utter stupidity. Her other advice/whatever is lacklustre, and mostly revolves around herself.

Also she's incredibly patronising. "Sweet pea", "honey bun" - oh, fuck off. ( )
  humblewomble | Jul 14, 2015 |
In this collection of Dear Sugar's columns, there is an artful brilliance to Strayed's insight and answers to some of life's most difficult questions. Sugar's straightforward responses at times are shocking b/c as a society we don't typically call people on there s*** the way she does but she does so lovingly, sweet pea. She forces us to go along with her on this journey of reflection and discovery; the reader explores how to love when we are vulnerable, how to find the good in others and ourselves, how to forgive, how to remember what is important, how to have true and honest intimacy (the only kind really) with those we love, and how to find our footing in this complicated, scary world. Tiny Beautiful Things is aptly named as each column, regardless of the question and topic, is a gem that will resonate in some way with you. If I had the money, I would send a copy to everyone I love. ( )
  Handwritten | Mar 29, 2015 |
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Long ago, before there was a Sugar, there was Stephen Elliot. - Introduction
What is this book? It's a selection of Dear Sugar columns. - Part One
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"Tiny Beautiful Things" brings the best of Cheryl Strayed's published and never-before-published online columns in one place and includes a new introduction by Steve Almond.

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